PDF In-Depth

Kleinheider: Moderator turned up the heat on 'Hot PDF Tools'

February 07, 2006

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With bad weather conditions and with the temperature well below zero in Munich (even the fog was frozen), I was unfortunate enough to have my flight to Florida delayed by a full day. Consequently, I missed out on one of my favorite sessions of the show -- 'Hot PDF Tools for Print Production'.

Luckily, I wasn't the only PDF groupie on-hand and I managed to track down consultant Peter Kleinheider from PrePress Consultant & Workflow Programming to get his overview on this session (aka: 7 minutes with a PDF Developer, PDF-Forum style).

After splitting 12 years between two major prepress system integrators in Austria, Kleinheider has now worked as a prepress consultant for the last 2½ years. Beside being responsible for the digital print and prepress department at one of Austria's most sophisticated media houses, he is also a member of the ECI (European Color initiative) and working groups 2 & 3 in the Technical Committee TC130 of ISO (responsible for PDF/X and print standardization).

The interview text follows.

KARL DE ABREW, Planet PDF CEO: Thanks for your time Peter, can you give me a general overview of the session?

PETER KLEINHEIDER, Consultant, PrePress Consultant & Workflow Programming: Each speaker had up to 10 minutes to demonstrate whatever they liked (marketing slides, product demo, etc...) for their presentation. But only 10 minutes. In fact, Jaeggi brought with him an electronic cuckoo clock signaling the end of their session -- and he made no exceptions.

DE ABREW: What first attracted you to this session?

KLEINHEIDER: I was attending the session since I do PDF workflow consulting -- so this was a must. I was also holding two tutorials (Preflight and PDF color management) and two speaking sessions (PDF reliable proofs and device independent workflow.

DE ABREW: What did each speaker cover and were there any particular highlights?

KLEINHEIDER: Some presenters did a live demo of their solution, some ran through a lot of marketing material -- but many fell victim to Jaeggi's timer. That kept things interesting.

Here's a general breakdown of what was covered.

  • Vicki Blake presented Enfocus PitStop Professional 7.0, the major update to Enfocus's flagship product for PDF preflight.
  • David van Driessche from Gradual showed CaslonFlow 5.5 for PDF process automation.
  • Charles James from Quite Software demonstrated Quite Imposing 2.0.
  • Joanne David from Ultimate showed new features in Impostrip V8.1.
  • Martin Bailey explained the feature set of Global Graphics' current shipping Harlequin Rip Genesis 7.1, which now processes native PDF 1.6 files and features standard imposition schemes.
  • Michael Gershowitz from NAPC showed a spectacular way to distribute PDF files using Xinet's WebNative technology.
  • Mark Hilger from printable showed that company's web based print product order system via print driver-based PDF creation from any desktop application.
  • Leonard Rosenthol gave a very fast overview of the features in PDF Enhancer 3.1. After which Jaeggi suggested that next time he should tell the audience what PDF Enhancer cannot do.
  • Marcin Streszewski showed the PuzzleFlow Workflow, for anyone looking into a client/server based PDF workflow for print production. Streszewski showed the recombination of strip images like those obtained using general office applications. To explain the problem, Office applications (and Microsoft publisher) create those strip images when printing to PS -> PDF. The screen redraw in Acrobat is then very, very slow and when you do a preflight, you see that there are hundreds of images. Those PDFs can not be trapped correctly. Puzzleflow is the only software that can recombine those images to one single image again.

DE ABREW: Great. And for our readers, you can usually find out more about these products on the web by searching Google or visiting the company's website. Often there's a winner chosen in these sorts of sessions to keep things interesting, did that happen in this case?

KLEINHEIDER: Yes, Jaeggi announced that Vicki Blake of Enfocus was the winner of the funniest or most interesting presentation during the session. Whether this was due to her 15 year old joke -- an automatic spell check that incorrectly replaced printing industry-specific words -- or the announcement of PitStop 7.0, which is now finally based on Enfocus' own PDF library, we will never know.

For me, the most interesting was Thomas's [Thomas Merz of PDFlib fame, that is -Editor] because he had little marketing and showed a PDF tool for geeks that is also free of charge. Namely, the tool was FontReporter, a plugin designed to analyze the embedded fonts of any PDF File. In my opinion, it's a must for every PDF geek when it comes to finding font problems (or even if you are just curious).

DE ABREW: Any final tips or take home points from the session?

KLEINHEIDER: Well Karl, no matter which tool you're interested in, take my advice: download demonstration versions and test all the features that you are interested in -- don't just rely on the marketing material.

To save your readers the trouble of Googling all of the tools individually, they can be found at these URLs.

DE ABREW: Cheers Peter and thanks for your time. I won't be missing this session again!

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